Motorcycle Fatality Statistics Encourage Riders to Stay Away from Novelty Helmets

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California law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a safety helmet. California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803 states that is it illegal to operate a motorcycle or be a passenger on a motorcycle without wearing a safety helmet.

What are the standards for these safety helmets? California law requires that the helmet worn by the motorcycle rider or passenger must be fastened with straps and fit the person’s head securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement.

Recent media reports show that nationwide, including in California, novelty helmets are boosting motorcycle accident fatalities. What are novelty helmets? These are basically head gear for motorcyclists and passengers that are designed to do little more than giving a false impression of compliance with helmet use laws.

In several states where motorcycle helmets are mandatory, motorcyclists wear novelty helmets as a symbol of resistance to such laws. Others use them simply because they “look cool,” are much cheaper than the DOT-approved ones or are less bulkier and more comfortable to wear.

Novelty Helmets are Useless in a Crash

Novelty helmets do not meet federal safety requirements. In fact, government safety agencies have released several reports after testing numerous brands of the novelty helmets finding that they failed all or most of their safety tests. Six years ago, NHTSA hired an independent laboratory to research seven novelty helmet models and found that all of them were absolutely useless in a crash.

The analyses gave 100 percent probability of brain injuries and skull fracture indicating that the person wearing the helmet is likely to sustain fatal head trauma. What’s worse, these helmets give riders and passengers a false sense of security. Also, it remains legal to make and sell novelty helmets as long as they are not falsely represented as meeting federal standards. California is one of several states that has made them illegal, but this law is ill-enforced in the Golden State.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 54 percent of road riders wore an approved helmet in 2010, which was down from 67 percent in 2009. More than 800,000 novelty helmets are sold in the United States each year with the number of the motorcycle accident fatalities mounting.

A NHTSA rule taking effect next month will hopefully make it easier for police to spot helmets with fake safety labels. Many of these labels and stickers are sold online for as little as 50 cents. Numerous tests over the years have clearly shown that certified helmets, those meeting federal standards, save hundreds of lives every year and prevent traumatic brain injuries.

Higher Number of Motorcycle Crash Fatalities

In 2011, motorcycle crashes killed 4,612 people, more than twice the number of motorcyclists killed in the mid 1990s. NHTSA has estimated that as many as 754 people die each year in states with mandatory helmet laws because they wore novelty helmets instead of the safer helmets. That amounts to one in six rider fatalities. In the 19 states that require all riders to be helmeted, including California, novelty helmets account for about one of every five helmets sold.

Crashes Involving Novelty Helmets

NHTSA has estimated that as many as 754 people die each year in states with mandatory helmet laws because they wore novelty helmets instead of safe headgear, which amounts to nearly one in six rider fatalities. Yet in the 19 states that require riders of all ages to wear some form of protection, the novelty versions account for about one out of every five helmets sold. Novelty helmets are sold in stores and online by numerous companies. Prices start at around $30 and top out at $305.99.

California has particularly seen an increase in accidents involving novelty helmets, officials say. Most recently on March 14, 2013, 56-year-old William Rivers was killed in a Riverside County car accident after the driver of another vehicle failed to yield the right-of-way to his motorcycle at a street intersection. Officials said Rivers was wearing a novelty helmet and died from his injuries although both the pickup and motorcycle were traveling at or below the speed limit at the time.

These are injuries and fatalities that can easily be prevented. A DOT-approved full-face helmet can help significantly reduce the probability of a traumatic head injury or a fatal injury.

Protecting Victims’ Rights

Regardless of the type of helmet, if a motorcycle accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, the at-fault party can be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims or families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable.

Contraceptive NuvaRing is Under Fire after More Than 1,000 Lawsuits Allege that it Causes Blood Clots

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More than 1,000 women are suing the manufacturers of the contraceptive device NuvaRing alleging that it causes blood clots. Women are claiming that the vaginal ring, which sends out hormones directly into the bloodstream, has caused them to suffer potentially lethal blood clots.

The lawsuits also claim that the manufacturers of the device, Merck, did not properly test or label it to warn consumers about its risks and potential dangers before NuvaRing made it to the market in 2002. The NuvaRing is a small, flexible ring made of transparent plastic, which when inserted into the vagina, releases the hormones estrogen and progestin into the blood stream, preventing ovulation and pregnancy.

Why Are NuvaRing Devices Dangerous?

Women who have used NuvaRing and have suffered dangerous side effects say that the manner in which these devices deliver hormones to the body plays a significant role in their risk factor. Unlike other contraceptives, the NuvaRing emits hormones directly into the woman’s bloodstream. Experts say that these “hormone spikes” experienced by the women may make them vulnerable to blood clots.

While all hormone-based contraceptives are likely to increase a woman’s chance of developing blood clots and strokes, the riskiest ones are those that have hormones such as desogestrel, also known as “third-generation” hormones. NuvaRing uses a compound related to desogestrel. Since 1995, we have seen research that these newer hormones double blood clot risks.

NuvaRing in fact contains a lower dose of hormones than oral contraceptives. However, while birth control pills, lose up to half their hormones in the digestive tract, the ring’s dose is directly absorbed into the blood.

Lawyers for NuvaRing victims say pharmaceutical companies never studied whether this aspect of the ring makes it riskier than taking pills. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not demand such a study either. Its approval of NuvaRing in 2002 was based largely on studies involving pills containing similar hormones.

Studies Linking NuvaRing to Blood Clots

Based on numerous complaints filed, even young women who never smoked in their lives, reported suffering from serious blood clots. Even fatalities were reported. A recent study funded by the FDA found that women taking contraceptives such as NuvaRing are 1.4 to four times more likely to develop blood clots than those taking birth control pills with hormones containing second-generation progestin.

Does how the hormone is delivered matter? In a case involving a different product, drug maker Johnson & Johnson discovered that changing the manner of delivery can significantly modify a hormone’s effects. Between 2002 and 2006 at least 40 women died from blood clots after using the company’s Ortho Evra birth control patch, most from blood clots. The company had claimed at the time that its product delivered a more constant, low dose of hormones. However, as it turned out, users of the patches were getting 60 percent more estrogen than women taking regular birth control pills.

However, the cases against NuvaRing have not held up in court. In most of these cases, judges said that the plaintiffs did not sufficiently prove that the rings were the cause of their blood clots. Furthermore, Merck officials have maintained that their products are safe, FDA-approved and a proper birth control method. More than 1,000 cases will go to trial in the federal court system starting this October.

Protecting Your Rights

Fighting a product liability case against a giant pharmaceutical company is no small task. First, it is important that victims of defective drugs understand their legal rights. Injured victims can file a product liability lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Families that have lost loved ones as the result of defective drugs or medical devices can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death action against the manufacturer. These drug manufacturers and medical device makers have a responsibility and a legal obligation to test their products before putting them in the market.

However, many are in a hurry to get their products out so they can start raking in the products. This type of corporate greed can be devastating for consumers who pay the ultimate price.

The Danger of 15-Passenger Vans

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Larger passenger vans handle very differently compared to smaller passenger vehicles because, typically, they are longer higher and wider. These vans, commonly known as 15-passenger vans due to their ability to transport as many people, are used widely by non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, sports teams, senior centers, churches and childcare centers. This is despite the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued safety warnings about the dangerous design of these vehicles that make them prone to catastrophic rollover crashes.

These 15-passenger vans can be dangerous, particularly in the hands of inexperienced or reckless drivers. These vans require additional reliance on side mirrors for changing lanes, additional room, longer braking distances and present a higher risk of rollover crashes if they are not properly operated and maintained.

15-Passenger Vans and Rollovers

NHTSA’s research shows that 15-passenger vans, by virtue of their design, are more prone to rollover crashes, particularly ones that result in multiple fatalities. Some of the findings of a 2009 NHTSA study include:

  • In 2007, fatalities to occupants of 15-passenger vans increased nearly 20 percent from the previous year.
  • About 25 percent of fatally injured occupants of 15-passenger vans over the last five years were drivers.
  • The median age group for the drivers killed in these van accidents is 45 to 54 and the median age group for passengers is 25 to 34.
  • In 2007, there were 45 fatalities in 15-passenger vans that rolled over, 73 percent more than the previous year.
  • Also, 80 percent of fatally injured van occupants in rollovers in the past five years were unrestrained by seatbelts.

What Causes Passenger Van Rollovers?

Safety analysts say that the risk of rollovers increases significantly when the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to 10 or more. In fact, 15-passenger vans with 10 or more occupants had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that was nearly three times the rate of those that were highly loaded.

This is because loading the 15-passenger van causes the center of gravity to shift rearward and upward increasing the likelihood of a rollover. The shift in the center of gravity will also increase the potential for loss of vehicle control when the driver takes sudden evasive action such as avoiding an animal or debris on the roadway.

Preventing Tragic Van Rollover Accidents

Summer is particularly a busy time for road travel. Camping trips and other group travel put more 15-passenger vans on our roadways. Safety experts say the best thing to do is to avoid using these 15-passenger vans for group travel. However, if you must travel in these vans or drive one, officials have several tips to prevent catastrophic rollover crashes:

  • Tire pressure: Always ensure that the tires are properly inspected before each use. Van tires must be properly inflated and the tread should not be worn down. Excessively worn or improperly inflated tires can lead to a rollover.
  • Driver experience: Anyone who operates a 15-passenger van should be properly trained and experienced. The driver must have a valid license of the state of residence. A commercial driver’s license is recommended as 15-passenger van drivers need additional training due to the different handling of these vans.
  • Driver attention: The driver should be well rested and attentive at all times. Using a cell phone or other types of distractions such as eating drinking or talking to passengers should be absolutely avoided.
  • Safe speed: Driving at a safe speed depending on driving conditions is critical. Drivers should never exceed the posted speed limit. If the roadways are slick or icy, slow down. It is a fact that 15-passenger vans do not respond well to abrupt steering maneuvers and also need additional braking time.
  • People and cargo: At no point should more than 15 people be allowed to ride in a 15-passenger van. When the van is not full, passengers should sit in those seats that are in front of the rear axle. Also, cargo should be placed in front of the rear axle. Do not place any luggage or cargo on the roof. Do not tow anything behind the van. Take a look at the owner’s manual for maximum weight of passengers and cargo. At all times, avoid overloading the van.
  • The Importance of Seatbelts: All occupants must wear seatbelts at all times. Seatbelts must be inspected regularly and any missing, broken or damaged belts and buckles must be fixed. Statistics show that an unrestrained 15-passenger van occupant involved in a single-vehicle crash is approximately three times as likely to be killed as a restrained occupant.

Protecting Your Rights

If you or your family member has been involved in a 15-passenger van rollover crash, please contact the experienced auto product liability attorneys at Bisnar | Chase to protect your legal rights. In cases where defective manufacturing or design caused or contributed to the incident, the automaker or the manufacturer of the defective part can be held liable.

For example, our firm settled a lawsuit with Ford Motor Company and a rental car agency that was involved in a fatal 15-passenger van accident. The van, in this case, was transporting a group of friends from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a birthday party. The van, a Ram 350, rolled over and seatbelts failed. A confidential settlement was reached involving multiple families. If you or a loved one has been involved in a similar crash involving a 15-passenger van, please understand that you do have legal rights.



From Defect to Recall: How Auto Safety Recalls are Issued and Why You Should Care

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Auto safety recalls have become almost a weekly if not a daily occurrence. Often, as consumers, we don’t attach much importance to these auto defect recalls as long as they do not concern us. There are a significant number of recalls issued by automakers each year. Let’s look at the numbers.

Automakers had their hands full with recalls in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2012, vehicle manufacturers had issued more than 650 safety recalls that included about 18 million vehicles, child safety seats and other auto-related parts and equipment. NHTSA officials have said that consumer complaints play an important part in the recall process. For example, in 2012, the federal safety agency got 41,912 reports of potential safety defects, which is a slight increase compared to the previous year.

Laws Relating to Vehicle Recalls

It is useful to know how a vehicle defect evolves into a full-fledged recall. The law, specifically The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, gives the government the authority to issue safety standards and to require automakers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects. Many of these recalls are voluntarily issued by automakers, while others have been influenced by NHTSA or in some cases, a court order.

It is the automaker’s legal obligation to notify the government promptly when a safety defect has been discovered. In addition to NHTSA, automakers must notify vehicle owners, dealers and distributors. Then, the manufacturer is required to repair the problem at no charge to consumers.

Defining a Safety Defect

A safety defect in a vehicle is one that poses an unreasonable risk to safety and one that is common to a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture. Auto safety defects may involve a manufacturing defect or flawed design elements. A safety defect is not one that would involve for example, the working of the air-conditioner, which merely exists to provide a higher level of comfort to the vehicle’s occupants. Some common examples of auto safety defects include:

  • Airbag defects: Where an airbag fails to deploy in the event of a crash or deploys suddenly or inadvertently, causing a crash or serious injuries to occupants.
  • Defective tires: Poorly manufactured tires may result in a tire blowout or tire tread separation that could cause the driver to lose control of a vehicle.
  • Seatbelt Defects: The defects are often in the seatbelt assembly system, which could cause seatbelt failure in the event of a car accident.
  • Weak seatbacks: When seatbacks are built in such a way that they are not strong enough to take the impact of a collision, they may collapse causing the occupant to be thrown around in the vehicle. Seatback collapse can result in catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage.
  • Fire hazard: A number of recent recalls involved problems with the engine or the electrical wiring that could pose fire hazards.
  • Sticky accelerator pedals: This could cause sudden or unintended acceleration.

The Recall Process

Not many consumers know that not all defective vehicles are recalled. In fact, there are millions of defective vehicles in the market that still have not been recalled. An auto safety recall is not a simple process. There are many steps involved here. The first step is what is known as the “screening process” where NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) starts a preliminary review of consumer complaints and other information related to the alleged defects. This is when the agency makes a decision as to whether or not a probe should be initiated. The second step is when NHTSA analyzes and processes the petitions for the defect.

Once these two stages are completed and a determination is made that further investigation is necessary, a probe is launched. First, there is a preliminary investigation when ODI gets limited information from the manufacturer such as crash reports, injuries, warranty claims, etc. The automaker at this juncture will also have an opportunity to present its views about the alleged defect. If the ODI has reason to believe that further investigation is warranted, it is upgraded to an engineering evaluation when the ODI conducts a more detailed and complete analysis of the alleged defect. At any time, these investigations may be closed without further action.

Once the engineering evaluation is complete and a determination is made, investigators prepare a briefing to be presented to a panel of experts within the agency and for peer review. The manufacturer is then notified about the panel’s decision and given the opportunity to present new analysis or data. If the agency agrees with the ODI’s recommendations, a Recall Request Letter may be sent to the automaker.

Protecting Consumers’ Rights

As you can see, the recall process from screening to the actual recall can take months or even years. Until this lengthy process is completed, millions of defective vehicles – new and used – continue to be sold in the market. Car rental companies continue to lease these vehicles out for use. At any given time, there is the potential for vehicle occupants and others on the roadway to suffer major injuries or fatalities.

If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one as the result of an auto defect, you have legal rights. Please contact an experienced auto products liability lawyer who will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options and hold the negligent automaker accountable.

NHTSA Issues 15-Passenger Van Alert for Summer Driving Season

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a safety alert warning drivers and commuters about the danger of 15-passenger vans. The safety agency is urging 15-passenger van users to take appropriate precautions to guard against the possibility of a tragic rollover crash. NHTSA says a number of factors make 15-passenger vans dangerous for group travel. Here are some of the common causes of catastrophic 15-passenger van crashes:

  • Overloading: NHTSA’s research shows that overloading 15-passenger vans increases the risk of rollovers significantly because it makes the vehicles more unstable especially while handling maneuvers.
  • Lack of experience: NHTSA recommends that only experienced drivers who are familiar with handling the vehicle should operate these vans.
  • Tire inflation: Improperly inflated tires are another common reason for 15-passenger rollover accident. According to NHTSA’s statistics, 30 percent of these vans have at least one significant under-inflated tire. Vehicle users must ensure that the vans have properly sized and load-rated tires that are inflated before every trip. Spare tires must not be used as replacements for worn tires.
  • Proper maintenance: Suspension and steering components must be inspected according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
  • Seatbelt use: All passengers must wear seatbelts on every trip. NHTSA estimates that 88 percent of those killed in 15-passenger van rollover crashes were not buckled up.

Barely a day after NHTSA issued this warning, a 46-year-old woman was killed and many others were injured after a 15-passenger van rollover accident on Florida’s turnpike after a tire tread separation. The van was carrying a church group on a mission trip. There is no question that these vehicles are dangerously unstable and cause serious accidents.

Among the design flaws of these 15-passenger vans is that they use stadium-style seating where passengers in the rear of the vehicle are sitting at a slightly higher elevation than those in front. In the event of a tire blowout, these vans could become unsteady and overturn, as it happened in Florida.

Incidents such as this one in Florida are also a warning to organizations to stop using these vans to transport groups. They may be donated or available cheap, but they are dangerous. Given what we know today about the danger of 15-passenger vans it is unacceptable and unreasonable for universities, childcare centers and churches to be using them for group transportation.

Honda Recalls More than 200000 Vehicles for Shift Issue

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Honda has issued an auto defect recall for about 200,000 sedans, crossovers and minivans due to problems these vehicles may have with the shift-interlock system. According to an NBC news report, the new recall affects about 17,500 2013 Acura RDX sedans, 128,000 Honda 2012 CR-Vs and 59,000 2013 Odyssey minivans. Honda officials say that in sub-freezing temperatures after initial use of the vehicle’s gear-shift mechanism, it may be impossible to shift the vehicle’s transmission out of the park position without depressing the brake pedal.

The Japanese automaker says that it has received no customer complaints or reports of crashes or injuries in connection with this auto defect. However, officials warn that the situation could become problematic if not corrected. Honda will notify vehicle owners in May and has said that it will make repairs at no cost to consumers.

Recent Honda Recalls

Honda has had a number of recent recalls relating to auto product defects. The most recent recalls came last week when Honda along with other automakers recalled 470,000 older sedans, minivans and crossovers due to faulty airbags that could cause fires or shoot out shrapnel during deployment, potentially injuring vehicle occupants. Last December, Honda recalled 870,000 “runaway” Odyssey minivans for transmission issues. Also, in January, Honda recalled more vehicles due to missing rivets in the airbag assembly.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Transmission issues can pose significant safety issues for vehicle occupants. Injuries that result from auto defects can be catastrophic or even fatal. In addition to the vehicle’s occupants, defective autos can also cause injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists or occupants of other vehicles.

Anyone who has been injured as the result of a defective auto can file an auto product liability claim against the vehicle manufacturer or the maker of the faulty product. Injured victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation as well. An experienced auto product liability lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.

Do Auto Safety Defect Probes Remain Hidden from the Public?

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An in-depth report in the USA Today reveals that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting auto safety defect probes out of the public view. According to the article, there have been several recalls where the investigations began many months before the warning or recalls were issued. For example, between April 2002 and 2009, there were 375 deaths in mostly older-model Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer vehicles. But no recalls were issued.

Formal versus Informal Probes

Automakers are required to inform NHTSA about claims or reports of serious injuries or fatalities. NHTSA may investigate those reports. But information about these probes is available to the public and news media that officially request it through a Freedom of Information Act request. Even when the information is requested formally, automakers can ask NHTSA to keep information they have submitted, confidential.

So, what’s happening here is information about formal safety investigations is on NHTSA’s website for all to see. But information about the informally conducted probes, which also involve injuries and fatalities, remain hidden from consumers.

Here are just some examples of these informal probes. Hyundai recalled some of its Veracruz and Santa Fe SUVs in August 2011 because the airbags may fail to deploy during a crash. There was no public investigation, but Hyundai said NHTSA has contacted them about nearly 8,000 warranty claims and consumer complaints relating to the safety defect.

NHTSA had begun investigating Chevy Volts for fire hazards long before it recalled the vehicles in November 2011. The problem also extends to child safety seats. In January 2008, Evenflo and NHTSA recalled more than 1 million Discovery child car seats. But NHTSA had already been testing the seats for a year before the recall due to concerns over how the seats performed during car accidents.

The Critical Need for Honest Information

There is an urgent need for transparency here. It is important that consumers know not only about formally launched investigations, but also other critical safety issues that NHTSA is looking into. NHTSA is more worried about protecting the reputation of automakers by safeguarding information about vehicle defects. What about consumer safety? It is important that consumers have data about defective vehicles readily available to them before they go out and buy a vehicle.

Anyone who has been injured in a car crash would be well advised to preserve the vehicle so it can be examined for defects and malfunctions. Just because a vehicle has not been recalled, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be defective. An experienced auto products liability lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.

Four Japanese Automakers Recall 3.4 Million Vehicles Worldwide for Defective Airbags

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Four major Japanese car makers – Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda – have issued a vehicle defect recall for 3.4 million vehicles worldwide because airbags supplied by another company, Takata Corp., could catch fire or injure passengers by shooting out shrapnel when they deploy. According to a Reuters news report, this is the largest recall ever for airbags by Takata, which the world’s second largest supplier of airbags and seatbelts. This is also the largest vehicle recall after Toyota pulled back more than 7 million vehicles in October. All automakers except for Mazda said no injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the defective airbags.

Faulty Airbags

Explaining the nature of the defects, the automakers said that in the event of a crash, the airbags for the front passengers’ seats may not inflate properly because of a manufacturing defect in the propellant used in the airbag inflator. As a result there is a risk of fires starting or passengers being injured by metal shrapnel that shoot out from the airbags.

A number of vehicle models have been recalled for this issue, some of them as old as 2000. Takata officials say they were aware of only six cases where an inflator ruptured in vehicles – four in the United States and two in Japan. Between 2008 and 2011, Honda recalled about 2.8 million vehicles after discovering a defect with the driver-side airbags supplied by Takata. It is not clear if any other manufacturers that purchased products from Takata have been affected. In 1995, Takata was involved in a recall of more than 8 million vehicles for defective seatbelts.

Auto Product Liability Issues

There is no question that these airbag defects are extremely serious and nervous. The article states that this defect may cause the airbags to catch fire or shoot out shrapnel – both of which can obviously cause significant injuries to the vehicle occupants. Anyone who is injured as a result of a defective auto product may be able to sue both the automaker and the manufacturer of the defective product for their damages and losses. Injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases against large automakers.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

Are Vaginal Mesh Implants the Cure or the Problem?

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A recent article in the Houston Chronicle asks an important question: Do transvaginal mesh implants worsen the condition of women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse instead of providing a cure? The Chronicle reports that 3.3 million women in the United States suffer from pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence and 350,000 of those patients undergo surgery to rid themselves of pelvic pressure and lower back pain caused by those conditions.

However, what many women are finding out is that the cure for the problems associated with pelvic organ prolapse seems worse than the condition itself. This is true particularly if the surgery involves a transvaginal mesh implant. These implants are made of nonabsorbent material and are intended to provide better support for the pelvic area compared to stitching or grafts.

However, women who expected a cure did not get it. The mesh implants caused significant problems including erosion leading to chronic pain, painful intercourse and even nerve injuries. The mesh, in many women, was popping out through the vaginal walls cutting through the surrounding tissue and causing excruciating pain.

Understanding the Risks of Surgery

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted consumers about vaginal mesh implants and the complications involved. In 2011, the alert was updated stating that complications were more common than initially thought. Doctors are now telling women that mesh implant surgery for prolapse is often not the only or best option. Prolapse is not life threatening, but a quality-of-life issue. Women who are seeking treatment should look into all options. They should equip themselves with the most information so they can make a decision regarding their course of treatment.

Liability Issues

Women who are experiencing the serious side effects of vaginal mesh implants have filed thousands of lawsuits. One woman who was recently awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages and $7.8 million in punitive damages testified during the jury trial that the Ethicon mesh was marketed to her as safe and effective.

Anyone who has suffered the adverse effects of these vaginal mesh implants would be well advised to contact an experienced product liability attorney who is currently handling these cases. Please remember that you have legal rights and the right to file a claim seeking damages for your significant monetary and other losses.

10 Million Pounds of Frozen Food Recalled after Nationwide E. coli Outbreak

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Rich Products Corporation, a New York-based food producer is recalling more than 10 million pounds of frozen pizza and other snack foods after their products have been linked to a rare and potentially dangerous E. coli outbreak.

According to an NBC News report, three million pounds of the products still remain in the marketplace. Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 27 people in 15 states have been infected by the E. coli O121 bacteria, with which the recalled food is believed to be contaminated.

The snacks involved in this recall have “best by” dates from Jan. 1 2013 through Sept. 29, 2014. So far, eight people suffered food poisoning severe enough to be hospitalized. This massive recall expands a March 28 recall of 196,222 pounds of Farm Rich brand chicken quesadillas and other frozen mini meals and snack items, which could also be contaminated by the same strain of E. coli.

Rare and Dangerous Strain of Bacteria

The bacteria involved in this particular outbreak are known as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli. They create toxins that can lead to severe symptoms including bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps. This strain is also dangerous as it could lead to a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS that could result in kidney failure and death.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011 banned E. coli O121 and five other strains also known as the “big six” from the nation’s beef supply. The bacteria can be difficult to identify because clinical labs usually test only for the E. coli O157 strains. Shiga-toxin producing E. coli can make a person sick between two to eight days after eating the contaminated food. Children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to the worse effects of this particular type of illness.

Compensation for Food Poisoning Victims

If you or a loved one has been sickened by these or other contaminated products, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent food producer. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Victims would also be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled food poisoning and other defective products cases.

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